Background Scripture: Acts 21:26-22:21, 1 Peter 3:13-17
Focus Passage: 1 Peter 3:15
Are you an apologist? That depends on what it means to be one, right? Well, let me begin by pointing out what Christian apologetics isn't:
1) Apologetics is not the art of getting really good at saying you're sorry over and over.
2) Apologetics is not being so clever that you force unbelievers into submission WWE style.
3) Apologetics is not winning an argument about how many angels can stand on the head of a pin.
4) Apologetics is not having such an abundance of truth that faith is no longer necessary.
5) Apologetics does not require you to carry around in your brain the factual equivalent of a doctoral degree in biblical theology.
But what is it? Very simply this: the art and the science of giving a defense for the Christian faith. It gets its misleading name from the Greek word "apologia" which means to give defense and is used eight times in the New Testament.
Now, back to my original question: Are you an apologist? I assert that we all should be. In fact, our focus verse commands that we "be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us."
But, why should you be passionate about the art and the science of defending the claims of Jesus Christ? Without playing the 1 Peter 3:15 trump card, let me explain it to you this way: I am making the assertion that the need to defend the Christian faith is more important now than at any time in human history.
Why would I make such an outrageous claim? I base it on two "post-modern" beliefs that have been posited upon us by the "tolerance police."
1) In times past, nonbelievers had certain choices regarding Christianity. These were whether Christianity was the one true religion, whether any religion was true, or whether God existed at all. But folks then were usually not oppressed by the additional burden of deciding whether or not there was such a thing as truth. Led by the academy, our post-modern culture has done a number on truth. Relativism rules the day. In my humble opinion, this is a direct attack on the claims of Christ, the exclusivity of the Christian message, and explains why it exempts Christianity from tolerance when it is afforded to all other beliefs.
2) As we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus Christ to earth, the attacks on our faith will grow stronger and stronger. Satan knows his time is short and he is growing desperate. The above mentioned assault on the concept of truth (relativism) is just one example. Others include syncretism, dialectical materialism, atheism, pantheism, the perfectibility of man, political correctness, and many more. If we don't have an answer to those who challenge us, we weaken their perception of Christians and biblical beliefs in general.
So, joins us in the fellowship hall as we begin a quarter-long study of Christian apologetics. Learn about the law of non-contradiction, the anthropic principle, circular arguments, and the Road Runner tactic. And, as we embark on this study, I am reminded of Jack Nicholson's character in the movie A Few Good Men when he said to Tom Cruise's character, "You can't handle the truth!" He might as well have been speaking to America. Let it not be said of the Church. Let it not be said of us.
Keep the Faith,